On or Above: A New Hat

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematical thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
Mathematics (5,032)


On or Above: A New Hat


  • To understand positions of on and above
  • To compare positions in space
  • To talk about positions in space

Paper circles and ovals; ovals taped to the circles to make hat brims; children's books (see Literature Suggestion)


Literature Suggestion
Read Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina and The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca. Have children notice the hats in the book illustrations. Ask, "Why do people wear hats?" (to protect heads, shade eyes, look good)

Play "Simon Says" for a kinesthetic approach to the concepts of on and above. "Simon Says, put your hand: on your head, above your head, on your shoulder, above your shoulder, on your knee, above your knee, on your foot, above your foot."


  • Tell children that they are going to play "A New Hat." Show children a variety of paper circles with oval brims that will be the new hats. Demonstrate the concepts of above and on by putting one of the hats on a child's head and asking, "Is the hat on or above Aretha's head?" Help the children respond, "On Aretha's head." Repeat the action, putting the hat above Aretha's head.
  • Give a paper hat to children and have them work with partners. Give directions for children to follow such as: Put the hat on your partner's head. Put the hat above your head. Put the hat above your partner's head. Put the hat on your head.
  • Expand the "on and above" experience to a circle game. Ask children to sit in a circle. Have a child hold a paper hat on or above a second child's head and ask, "Is the hat on or above your head?" The second child responds, "The hat is on (or above) my head." The second child then takes the paper hat and repeats the game with the next child.
  • Teacher Tip: English Language Learners benefit from the many repetitions of words and phrases used in circle games.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can correctly identify an item as being on or above another object.
  • In Process - Child participates, but needs help when asked to identify an item as being on or above another object.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet identify an item as being on or above another object.

Excerpted from

School Readiness Activity Cards
Pearson Early Childhood
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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